U.S. ag shippers concerned about EU export barriers
February 24, 2011 - LM Editorial
The Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC) is asking its members to share information on ocean carrier practice regarding Entry Summary Declaration (ENS).
In a memo obtained by LM, the AgTC informs shippers that the EU’s trade data rules have been in effect for nearly three months, requiring that the ENS be submitted by the ocean carrier 24 hours before cargo is loaded for an EU destination.
This applies to any cargo on a ship that stops at an EU port, whether off-loaded there, or merely continuing to a further destination.
To comply with this rule, carriers need complete and accurate shipping instructions from the shipper in sufficient time to be able to submit the EU’s 24 hour deadline. The amount of lead time varies by carrier, but appears to range from 2 to 4 days. According to the memo, “this is creating real difficulties for ag exporters.”
One question is whether or not the EU countries are actually requiring this information yet, the AgTC stated.
“Our members are reporting that this advance documentation can cause severe difficulties for agriculture shipments, as often the details such as container number and seal are not available to the shipper by the carrier cut-off,” the memo said. “A shipper’s inability to get the data to a carrier by the cut off has lead to carriers rolling cargo, demurrage fees, late shipments to customers, and some lost sales if out of compliance with a letter of credit.”
The memo includes an account recalled by one shipper sounding a plea of desperation:
“Depending on the carrier, they are charging $24 - $50 for initial filing and then $50 for changes, but this is not the real problem. They are rolling our shipments and then charging crane fees and demurrage, which has amounted to $10 - $20,000. We have so far been able to get these waived but I am not sure how much longer they will continue to do so.”
To just what extent this has been discouraging U.S. ag exports has yet to be determined, but the shipper who shared this information, told LM it is a legitimate concern.
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